His name is Carlos. Carlos Cantos.
Carlos is a smart student. I know that from his grades, and how he answers my questions. He was once in my top 10 list, but went down, still on my top 20. He’s kind of talkative too, but he behaves even with just a stare.
Recently, he became more quiet.
While Axl and I were walking towards Ella, we saw Carlos half-naked.
“Ui carlos! Bat ka nakahubad aber?”
“Kasi teacher hinahanap ko tsinelas ko.”
I laughed because his answer had no connection with my question. Maybe he thought I was referring to his feet.
“Malapit ka lang ba?” I suddenly thought of visiting him.
But I thought to stick to the plan so I told Axl, “Ay sige tara na kena Ella.”
“Pero teacher,” Axl said, “Mas malapit po kasi sina Carlos.”
Surprised, I agreed. It was the first time Axl reasoned out! Yehey!
“Okay sige. “ero ayos lang ba sa inyo na maghintay sandali?”
“Opo.” she answered.
So Axl, Rose (Axl’s sister) and I went to Carlos’ house. And well yeah, their house was nearer. We turned about two lefts there we were already.
When we arrived, there was no one there.
“Ay wala sina mama?” I asked Carlos.
“Ayun po, yung nakaputi.” He said.
I looked at my right, and saw his mother doing something. I just said with a moderate voice, “Hello po, teacher po ako ni Carlos.”
I asked if I could enter, and she said yes. She fixed the things she could while she was walking to the bed. “Pasensya na po sa bahay namin.”
“Ay okay lang po yun! Wala pong problema.”
“Maliit lang po kasi.”
“Wala ho iyon. Kamusta naman ho kayo?”
“Okay naman ho.”
“Ano pong trabaho po nila?”
Ugh, I hated myself for asking that first.
“Nagbabasahan po. Kanina po nagtatahi ako nung nakita niyo ko sa labas.”
“wow galing! Si mister po?”
“Nagtatrabaho po. Mamaya-maya pa po uuwi.”
I didn’t like to disturb her on what she was doing, so I talked about Carlos.
“Alam niyo ma’am ngayong araw, napapansin ko po na parang tumatahimik si Carlos.”
“Ay opo. Kasi po ma’am sa report card nakasulat doon ‘iwasan magsalita habang nagsasalita si teacher’ eh siyempre sinabihan ko siya.
Wow. The narrative reports I write on the cards are effective! Nice to hear that!
“Ay mabuti naman po! Si Carlos po nagtop 10, kaso nawala po noong second at third. Pero ngayon po mukhang makakabawi.”
The whole time, her mother was smiling at me.
“Bale kamusta naman ho si carlos dito sa bahay?”
“Okay naman po. wala pong problema.”
“Ilan po ba sila magkakapatid?”
“Apat ho. Bale 3 high school, siya na lang po sa grade school!”
“wow!” I smiled, and I knew my eyes sparkled at that time. I could not help but be proud of parents who would tell me that they worked hard just to keep their children in school.
Although I knew how hard it is to have children in high school because of the papers they had to pass. “Eh mahirap ho diba kapag may high school? Kamusta na ho kayo?”
“Iyon ma’am. Mahirap nga… Kaya nga tong si carlos, wala talagang baon kapag pumapasok. Eh noon pinipilit magsoup, buti ngayon hindi na.”
“Ay oho bawal po kasi talaga…”
“Eh sabi nga ni carlos hindi na. Mabait na daw kasi teacher nila.”
“Woo!” I smiled, and laughed. It isn’t bad if my heart melted because of a compliment, is it? “Ikaw talaga binola mo pa ako!”
I tapped his head. He smiled in return, and so was his mother.
When I thought the room was filled with happiness already, I said my goodbye to proceed to the third visit of the day.
Student number 47, check.